T Nation

Stuck on Pull-Ups

I am obsessed with pull-ups, yet I am having trouble getting over 15 or 16 dead hangs. I want to be able to do 25 or 30 consecutive, which is proving to be pretty tough. About six months to a year ago I was able to get 20 pull-ups, but I wasn’t using as good of form as I do now, and it was only two or three times. As of now I can do sets of 5 muscle-ups, 16-ish max clapping pull-ups, 10-ish max clap pull-ups with 30lbs, and can almost do a muscle-up with 30 lbs.

I have tried a whole bunch of different things, close grip, wide grip, weighted, varying rep ranges, pyramids, static holds, ect. I just can’t seem to get over this plateau and it is PISSING ME OFF. Any ideas?

Thanks

-TipTop

How often are you training pull ups? You could try greasing the groove, where you do many sub maximal sets of pull ups over the course of the day, training 4-6 days a week, outside of your usual training program.

The key I found with breaking the 20 pull up barrier is to focus on using submaximal sets to increase your total volume. I liked doing a workout where I would do 1 pull up, let go of the bar and take 1 deep breath, 2 pull ups, 2 deep breaths, ect until you can’t complete the next series of pull ups. Or, set a timer, and make it your goal to get 100 reps within that time. You can even do more traditional rest pause or cluster style sets to build up your volume. Just make sure that you’re not going to failure on every set of every day.

Kipping muscle ups are largely useless for training max number of strict pull ups, because the momentum from using your lower body gets your through the hardest part of the movement. Weighted pull ups are a little better, but you’re using different energy systems and the weight changes the mechanics of the lift slightly. Focus on increasing the volume of your sets, and the density of work.

Yeah, stop wasting energy getting pissed off.

5 seconds on the search function and lots of articles to choose from.

To get you started.

You’re setting arbitrary goals. On what do you base the belief that 25-30 is realistic for you? If you’re hitting a plateau 30-50% short of that, it’s most likely beyond your genetic potential.

That said, the best way to improve at anything is to train by doing exactly what you’re training to do. That means to increase the number of pull-ups you can do, you should train by doing as many pull-ups as possible using the exact grip and form you want to use when you test yourself. Do not vary the exercise or incorporate a lot of extraneous training for the same muscle groups. Just do a workout consisting of one one or two sets of pull-ups to failure once every 4-7 days. Doing so will get you as far as you’re capable of going.

[quote]belligerent wrote:
You’re setting arbitrary goals. On what do you base the belief that 25-30 is realistic for you? If you’re hitting a plateau 30-50% short of that, it’s most likely beyond your genetic potential.

That said, the best way to improve at anything is to train by doing exactly what you’re training to do. That means to increase the number of pull-ups you can do, you should train by doing as many pull-ups as possible using the exact grip and form you want to use when you test yourself. Do not vary the exercise or incorporate a lot of extraneous training for the same muscle groups. Just do a workout consisting of one one or two sets of pull-ups to failure once every 4-7 days. Doing so will get you as far as you’re capable of going.
[/quote]

I don’t think this is the only approach at all. When I was at my best at pull-ups (30+ pull-ups unweighted, weighted pull-ups for reps with 150lbs+ additional weight), it was because I was climbing 3/4 days a week doing massive amounts of pull-ups in many different rep ranges and with many different grips. I rarely approached max reps or did weighted pull-ups. I would say the same was true of every other climber I observed at the time as well, no-one trained to do max rep pull ups, but many would do more than 20 without any issues.

breakingiron I train pull-ups Monday/Wednesday/Friday. I honestly really like your idea of many sub maximal sets, and it may be what I throw into play next. It would be something that I have never tried before and I can definitely see benefits from maximizing overall daily reps. For the 100 pull-ups in a set time idea, I have heard of this before, but have never tried it. What would be a good time limit to start at?

I actually do not kip when I do muscle-ups. I have never been a fan of kipping and have never even tried to learn how. I do strict muscle-ups from a dead hang. I also didn’t know the weighted pull-ups trained a different energy system. It is understandable that it changes the lift slightly though. So I should ditch the weight altogether? What is your opinion on changing grips like I have been from wide to close to regular? Should I continue this or just stick with the regular grip and train volume like you said?

JFK I appreciate your help. To be frank though, I spend a helluvalot of time on this website, and its not because I’m constantly posting if you know what I mean. I wouldn’t be posting here if I didn’t already read and implement everything I have found helpful.

belligerent honestly the idea that my genetics couldn’t get me there has never crossed my mind until now. I was basing the belief on the idea that hard work pays off, but now I am starting to second guess it a little. So I am going to take a step back and simplify this a bit. I can do 15 pull-ups, I’m now going to trim my goal back a bit to 18. I guess I will call it a stepping stone for now, but it seems to be a little more in reach.

As for your proposition for my training, I have done what you are describing to an extent but not exactly. I used to train my pull-ups by just doing pull-ups, but that topped me out at about 12, and those were pretty much chin to bar. That’s about when I started trying different grips and weighted pull-ups, and it seemed to help get me over the bar a little further. Toning it back and getting back to basics may be something I need to try, and I am going to keep your idea of a couple sets to failure a week in my back pocket for now.

Thanks for the replies

[quote]dagill2 wrote:

[quote]belligerent wrote:
You’re setting arbitrary goals. On what do you base the belief that 25-30 is realistic for you? If you’re hitting a plateau 30-50% short of that, it’s most likely beyond your genetic potential.

That said, the best way to improve at anything is to train by doing exactly what you’re training to do. That means to increase the number of pull-ups you can do, you should train by doing as many pull-ups as possible using the exact grip and form you want to use when you test yourself. Do not vary the exercise or incorporate a lot of extraneous training for the same muscle groups. Just do a workout consisting of one one or two sets of pull-ups to failure once every 4-7 days. Doing so will get you as far as you’re capable of going.
[/quote]

I don’t think this is the only approach at all. When I was at my best at pull-ups (30+ pull-ups unweighted, weighted pull-ups for reps with 150lbs+ additional weight), it was because I was climbing 3/4 days a week doing massive amounts of pull-ups in many different rep ranges and with many different grips. I rarely approached max reps or did weighted pull-ups. I would say the same was true of every other climber I observed at the time as well, no-one trained to do max rep pull ups, but many would do more than 20 without any issues.
[/quote]

Would you agree with breakingiron’s idea about many sub maximal sets throughout the day in order to increase volume?

[quote]TipTop wrote:

[quote]dagill2 wrote:

[quote]belligerent wrote:
You’re setting arbitrary goals. On what do you base the belief that 25-30 is realistic for you? If you’re hitting a plateau 30-50% short of that, it’s most likely beyond your genetic potential.

That said, the best way to improve at anything is to train by doing exactly what you’re training to do. That means to increase the number of pull-ups you can do, you should train by doing as many pull-ups as possible using the exact grip and form you want to use when you test yourself. Do not vary the exercise or incorporate a lot of extraneous training for the same muscle groups. Just do a workout consisting of one one or two sets of pull-ups to failure once every 4-7 days. Doing so will get you as far as you’re capable of going.
[/quote]

I don’t think this is the only approach at all. When I was at my best at pull-ups (30+ pull-ups unweighted, weighted pull-ups for reps with 150lbs+ additional weight), it was because I was climbing 3/4 days a week doing massive amounts of pull-ups in many different rep ranges and with many different grips. I rarely approached max reps or did weighted pull-ups. I would say the same was true of every other climber I observed at the time as well, no-one trained to do max rep pull ups, but many would do more than 20 without any issues.
[/quote]

Would you agree with breakingiron’s idea about many sub maximal sets throughout the day in order to increase volume? [/quote]

Absolutely. Recently, I’ve had my best success just making sure I do 100+ pull-ups in small sets at least every workout, if not every day. I have been working back up from a very de-conditioned state though.

[quote]TipTop wrote:
breakingiron I train pull-ups Monday/Wednesday/Friday. I honestly really like your idea of many sub maximal sets, and it may be what I throw into play next. It would be something that I have never tried before and I can definitely see benefits from maximizing overall daily reps. For the 100 pull-ups in a set time idea, I have heard of this before, but have never tried it. What would be a good time limit to start at?

I actually do not kip when I do muscle-ups. I have never been a fan of kipping and have never even tried to learn how. I do strict muscle-ups from a dead hang. I also didn’t know the weighted pull-ups trained a different energy system. It is understandable that it changes the lift slightly though. So I should ditch the weight altogether? What is your opinion on changing grips like I have been from wide to close to regular? Should I continue this or just stick with the regular grip and train volume like you said?

[/quote]

It’s honestly hard to say. The few times I tried 100 AFAP, it gets to the point where at the end you start doing sets of 1-2 and it can take forever to bang out the last reps. You might be able to bang out say 20 sets of 5 on the minute, or you might have to bang out a set of 20 and then get sets of 2-5 until you reach the end. The only way to know is to do it. The best way to do it, I think, would be to just do it once, see how long it takes you, and then every time you do it, shoot for less time. I would only do this once or maaaaybe twice a week, because the demands are going to be incredibly high and training like this can easily lead to overtraining if used too much. I also used to alternate between overhand and underhand pull ups each set, just to encourage balance and prevent overuse injuries.

My apologies on the muscle ups-if you are doing them strict, then you know your shit. Most people I see doing muscle-ups kip, so I figured that you were as well. Both are impressive (strict more so), but I don’t think they’ll really help your goal of a ton of pull ups.

What you’re training right now is muscle endurance. Doing weighted stuff, or explosive stuff, is on the opposite end of that spectrum. While I feel a day of weighted pull ups might help, the majority of your training should be on higher rep BW sets. So maybe do

Monday- Weighted Pull ups with a few back-off sets of BW
Wednesday- Pyramid sets
Friday- 100 reps AFAP

If you want to grease the groove, just make sure you’re not overdoing the rest of your training. When I was training for OCS, I had a pullup bar in one specific doorway of my house. Whenever I walked under that bar, I did 5 pull ups. Mind you, at this time I already had 20 pull ups. So if I walked under that doorway 6 times a day (which was honestly pretty low estimate) every day, 5 days a week, that’s an extra 150 pull ups. Don’t do this for long, maybe 4 weeks or so, and have at least 1-2 rest days a week.

Also, I recommend using at least doing some chin ups along with the pull ups. The little bit of variety will prevent overuse injuries, but still train the muscles you need, and might even help hit the weak points (ex-chin ups help with finishing over the bar when you’re tired on pull ups).

[quote]belligerent wrote:
You’re setting arbitrary goals. On what do you base the belief that 25-30 is realistic for you? If you’re hitting a plateau 30-50% short of that, it’s most likely beyond your genetic potential.

That said, the best way to improve at anything is to train by doing exactly what you’re training to do. That means to increase the number of pull-ups you can do, you should train by doing as many pull-ups as possible using the exact grip and form you want to use when you test yourself. Do not vary the exercise or incorporate a lot of extraneous training for the same muscle groups. Just do a workout consisting of one one or two sets of pull-ups to failure once every 4-7 days. Doing so will get you as far as you’re capable of going.

[/quote]

This is horrible “advice”. One of the worst posts I’ve ever seen here.

Piss off with that “genetic potential” self limiting horseshit when referring to a 30 rep pull up. OP, you would do yourself a ridiculous disservice by taking that nonsense on.

Belligerent, please go and tell Louie Simmons and pretty much all of the top crossfit competitors that they’re all training wrong. Film and post on Youtube when doing this, if you don’t mind.

OP, I don’t know what your stats are, what your current program is, how long you’ve been doing what, if you deload, etc. but in general:

  • Increase your strength basis for pull ups with low rep sets. Keep back off sets for those sessions near the same amount as the low reps (so for example heavy weighted 8 sets of 2, followed by a lighter weighted 3x5)
  • Increase your grip strength basis, with, for example, fat grip pull ups, fat bar deadlifts and/or heavy grippers.
  • Increase your endurance for pull ups with higher rep sets. Emphasize different angles per cycle (with, for example, neutral grip pull ups, ring pull ups and horizontal pull ups on rings and/ or bar). Don’t go to failure too often, in general go amrap or do some dropsets on only your last 2 sets.
  • increase your grip endurance, with, for example, (fat bar) rack pulls held for time, fat grip timed hangs, farmers walks and repping out on lighter grippers.

An example to add in with the rest of your training could be:
Monday:

  • fat bar rack pulls, 5x 8sec hold (add 1 set per week, so 5x8sec, 6x8sec, 7x8sec, 8x8sec, after 8x8sec increase weight and start with 5x8sec again)
  • weighted pull ups, 5x2 (add 1 set per week, so 5x2, 6x2, 7x2, 8x2, after 8x2 increase weight and start with 5x2 again). Optional back off sets of maximum 5 reps.
    Tuesday:
  • lightly weighted pull ups, 3x8 (done with snappy speed, end the set if you start to slow down), BW 2xamrap ((in week 1, when doing 5x2 on Monday, only do 3x8 with BW and good speed))
  • spring or plate loaded grippers 3x20, 2x50-100
    Thursday:
  • fat bar deadlifts, 5x2 (add 1 set per week, so 5x2, 6x2, 7x2, 8x2, after 8x2 increase weight and start with 5x2 again).
  • neutral grip weighted pull ups, 5x2 (add 1 set per week, so 5x2, 6x2, 7x2, 8x2, after 8x2 increase weight and start with 5x2 again). Optional back off sets of maximum 5 reps.
    Friday:
  • lightly weighted neutral grip pull ups, 3x8 with good speed, end the set if you slow down, BW 2x amrap ((in week 1, when doing 5x2 on Monday, only do 3x8 with BW and good speed))
  • horizontal pull ups (ring or bar), 3x10 (with good speed, end the set when slowing down), 2x amrap
  • spring or plate loaded grippers 3x20, 2x50-100

This includes a built in (Hepburn inspired) intensity/ volume cycle, but you could also make week 1 of every 4 weeks a full deload. The grip stuff should recover fairly quick so you could add some extra gripper work on Fridays. I’ve run similar stuff (with more grip work) in the past with good results.

[quote]grippit wrote:

Belligerent, please go and tell Louie Simmons and pretty much all of the top crossfit competitors that they’re all training wrong. Film and post on Youtube when doing this, if you don’t mind.[/quote]

It’s hysterical, and appropriate, and you would juxtapose Louie Simmons and Crossfit like that.

[quote]breakingiron wrote:

[quote]TipTop wrote:
breakingiron I train pull-ups Monday/Wednesday/Friday. I honestly really like your idea of many sub maximal sets, and it may be what I throw into play next. It would be something that I have never tried before and I can definitely see benefits from maximizing overall daily reps. For the 100 pull-ups in a set time idea, I have heard of this before, but have never tried it. What would be a good time limit to start at?

I actually do not kip when I do muscle-ups. I have never been a fan of kipping and have never even tried to learn how. I do strict muscle-ups from a dead hang. I also didn’t know the weighted pull-ups trained a different energy system. It is understandable that it changes the lift slightly though. So I should ditch the weight altogether? What is your opinion on changing grips like I have been from wide to close to regular? Should I continue this or just stick with the regular grip and train volume like you said?

[/quote]

It’s honestly hard to say. The few times I tried 100 AFAP, it gets to the point where at the end you start doing sets of 1-2 and it can take forever to bang out the last reps. You might be able to bang out say 20 sets of 5 on the minute, or you might have to bang out a set of 20 and then get sets of 2-5 until you reach the end. The only way to know is to do it. The best way to do it, I think, would be to just do it once, see how long it takes you, and then every time you do it, shoot for less time. I would only do this once or maaaaybe twice a week, because the demands are going to be incredibly high and training like this can easily lead to overtraining if used too much. I also used to alternate between overhand and underhand pull ups each set, just to encourage balance and prevent overuse injuries.

My apologies on the muscle ups-if you are doing them strict, then you know your shit. Most people I see doing muscle-ups kip, so I figured that you were as well. Both are impressive (strict more so), but I don’t think they’ll really help your goal of a ton of pull ups.

What you’re training right now is muscle endurance. Doing weighted stuff, or explosive stuff, is on the opposite end of that spectrum. While I feel a day of weighted pull ups might help, the majority of your training should be on higher rep BW sets. So maybe do

Monday- Weighted Pull ups with a few back-off sets of BW
Wednesday- Pyramid sets
Friday- 100 reps AFAP

If you want to grease the groove, just make sure you’re not overdoing the rest of your training. When I was training for OCS, I had a pullup bar in one specific doorway of my house. Whenever I walked under that bar, I did 5 pull ups. Mind you, at this time I already had 20 pull ups. So if I walked under that doorway 6 times a day (which was honestly pretty low estimate) every day, 5 days a week, that’s an extra 150 pull ups. Don’t do this for long, maybe 4 weeks or so, and have at least 1-2 rest days a week.

Also, I recommend using at least doing some chin ups along with the pull ups. The little bit of variety will prevent overuse injuries, but still train the muscles you need, and might even help hit the weak points (ex-chin ups help with finishing over the bar when you’re tired on pull ups).[/quote]

I actually really like this workout plan. I think I am going to give it a try for a few weeks and see what comes out of it. I also never do chin ups so hopefully throwing those in every other set does some good for me.
Thanks for the help.

[quote]grippit wrote:
OP, I don’t know what your stats are, what your current program is, how long you’ve been doing what, if you deload, etc. but in general:

  • Increase your strength basis for pull ups with low rep sets. Keep back off sets for those sessions near the same amount as the low reps (so for example heavy weighted 8 sets of 2, followed by a lighter weighted 3x5)
  • Increase your grip strength basis, with, for example, fat grip pull ups, fat bar deadlifts and/or heavy grippers.
  • Increase your endurance for pull ups with higher rep sets. Emphasize different angles per cycle (with, for example, neutral grip pull ups, ring pull ups and horizontal pull ups on rings and/ or bar). Don’t go to failure too often, in general go amrap or do some dropsets on only your last 2 sets.
  • increase your grip endurance, with, for example, (fat bar) rack pulls held for time, fat grip timed hangs, farmers walks and repping out on lighter grippers.

An example to add in with the rest of your training could be:
Monday:

  • fat bar rack pulls, 5x 8sec hold (add 1 set per week, so 5x8sec, 6x8sec, 7x8sec, 8x8sec, after 8x8sec increase weight and start with 5x8sec again)
  • weighted pull ups, 5x2 (add 1 set per week, so 5x2, 6x2, 7x2, 8x2, after 8x2 increase weight and start with 5x2 again). Optional back off sets of maximum 5 reps.
    Tuesday:
  • lightly weighted pull ups, 3x8 (done with snappy speed, end the set if you start to slow down), BW 2xamrap ((in week 1, when doing 5x2 on Monday, only do 3x8 with BW and good speed))
  • spring or plate loaded grippers 3x20, 2x50-100
    Thursday:
  • fat bar deadlifts, 5x2 (add 1 set per week, so 5x2, 6x2, 7x2, 8x2, after 8x2 increase weight and start with 5x2 again).
  • neutral grip weighted pull ups, 5x2 (add 1 set per week, so 5x2, 6x2, 7x2, 8x2, after 8x2 increase weight and start with 5x2 again). Optional back off sets of maximum 5 reps.
    Friday:
  • lightly weighted neutral grip pull ups, 3x8 with good speed, end the set if you slow down, BW 2x amrap ((in week 1, when doing 5x2 on Monday, only do 3x8 with BW and good speed))
  • horizontal pull ups (ring or bar), 3x10 (with good speed, end the set when slowing down), 2x amrap
  • spring or plate loaded grippers 3x20, 2x50-100

This includes a built in (Hepburn inspired) intensity/ volume cycle, but you could also make week 1 of every 4 weeks a full deload. The grip stuff should recover fairly quick so you could add some extra gripper work on Fridays. I’ve run similar stuff (with more grip work) in the past with good results.[/quote]

My grip could definitely be somewhere I am lacking. I.m going to try to find a way to implement this into my workouts. Thanks for the knowledge. I’ll keep you all posted on my improvement and such.

Another thought: you have been pursuing this goal for a while apparently, using a decent amount of volume and frequency.

Have you thought about taking a week off from pullups, and then testing your max? This could be what it takes to get you over the hump, hitting it fresh.

I’ve always had a hell of a time with pullups… Over the years, I’ve gone from barely one to barely 5, but then this year, over 3 months or so I’ve gone from 5 to 15 (on a good day, granted) per set.

I know we’re talking about taking you from 15 to 30, but we’re also talking about busting a plateau. I’m sharing what I did to triple my pullup numbers just in case it inspires an idea for you.

I read about “greasing the groove” and staying away from max effort sets, so for a few months, I didn’t do a single vertical pull workout. Instead, I would do pullups frequently (4-5 days a week) with the only criteria being that I hit a certain total rep number before I went home from work.

I started at 100 reps. It was 3 or 4 reps at a time at first (5 would be a grind), but soon I was getting 6 or 7 out comfortably. Long rests (sometimes a few hours) meant that I was going into every set pretty fresh.

Daily reps increased from 100 to 120. I started doing 3 sets in a row (30~60 sec rest) instead of just 1 when I passed the pullup bar.

Over time, every parameter increased. I was doing 200 reps per day at the end, sets of 8-10 and hit an all-time personal record of 18 reps on one particularly inspired day.

I haven’t used that protocol for about 2 months now, just cause I’m focusing on other things, but I haven’t lost my work capacity and can still bang out 10 pretty easily, even at the end of a pulling workout. I plan to use this same protocol again when I want to see my numbers grow.

So I know you’re going for bigger things than I am, but maybe my 5-to-15 is kind of like your 15-to-30. Just wanted to give my 100% supportive testimonial to submaximal sets throughout the day.

[quote]TipTop wrote:

[quote]breakingiron wrote:

[quote]TipTop wrote:
breakingiron I train pull-ups Monday/Wednesday/Friday. I honestly really like your idea of many sub maximal sets, and it may be what I throw into play next. It would be something that I have never tried before and I can definitely see benefits from maximizing overall daily reps. For the 100 pull-ups in a set time idea, I have heard of this before, but have never tried it. What would be a good time limit to start at?

I actually do not kip when I do muscle-ups. I have never been a fan of kipping and have never even tried to learn how. I do strict muscle-ups from a dead hang. I also didn’t know the weighted pull-ups trained a different energy system. It is understandable that it changes the lift slightly though. So I should ditch the weight altogether? What is your opinion on changing grips like I have been from wide to close to regular? Should I continue this or just stick with the regular grip and train volume like you said?

[/quote]

It’s honestly hard to say. The few times I tried 100 AFAP, it gets to the point where at the end you start doing sets of 1-2 and it can take forever to bang out the last reps. You might be able to bang out say 20 sets of 5 on the minute, or you might have to bang out a set of 20 and then get sets of 2-5 until you reach the end. The only way to know is to do it. The best way to do it, I think, would be to just do it once, see how long it takes you, and then every time you do it, shoot for less time. I would only do this once or maaaaybe twice a week, because the demands are going to be incredibly high and training like this can easily lead to overtraining if used too much. I also used to alternate between overhand and underhand pull ups each set, just to encourage balance and prevent overuse injuries.

My apologies on the muscle ups-if you are doing them strict, then you know your shit. Most people I see doing muscle-ups kip, so I figured that you were as well. Both are impressive (strict more so), but I don’t think they’ll really help your goal of a ton of pull ups.

What you’re training right now is muscle endurance. Doing weighted stuff, or explosive stuff, is on the opposite end of that spectrum. While I feel a day of weighted pull ups might help, the majority of your training should be on higher rep BW sets. So maybe do

Monday- Weighted Pull ups with a few back-off sets of BW
Wednesday- Pyramid sets
Friday- 100 reps AFAP

If you want to grease the groove, just make sure you’re not overdoing the rest of your training. When I was training for OCS, I had a pullup bar in one specific doorway of my house. Whenever I walked under that bar, I did 5 pull ups. Mind you, at this time I already had 20 pull ups. So if I walked under that doorway 6 times a day (which was honestly pretty low estimate) every day, 5 days a week, that’s an extra 150 pull ups. Don’t do this for long, maybe 4 weeks or so, and have at least 1-2 rest days a week.

Also, I recommend using at least doing some chin ups along with the pull ups. The little bit of variety will prevent overuse injuries, but still train the muscles you need, and might even help hit the weak points (ex-chin ups help with finishing over the bar when you’re tired on pull ups).[/quote]

I actually really like this workout plan. I think I am going to give it a try for a few weeks and see what comes out of it. I also never do chin ups so hopefully throwing those in every other set does some good for me.
Thanks for the help.

[quote]grippit wrote:
OP, I don’t know what your stats are, what your current program is, how long you’ve been doing what, if you deload, etc. but in general:

  • Increase your strength basis for pull ups with low rep sets. Keep back off sets for those sessions near the same amount as the low reps (so for example heavy weighted 8 sets of 2, followed by a lighter weighted 3x5)
  • Increase your grip strength basis, with, for example, fat grip pull ups, fat bar deadlifts and/or heavy grippers.
  • Increase your endurance for pull ups with higher rep sets. Emphasize different angles per cycle (with, for example, neutral grip pull ups, ring pull ups and horizontal pull ups on rings and/ or bar). Don’t go to failure too often, in general go amrap or do some dropsets on only your last 2 sets.
  • increase your grip endurance, with, for example, (fat bar) rack pulls held for time, fat grip timed hangs, farmers walks and repping out on lighter grippers.

An example to add in with the rest of your training could be:
Monday:

  • fat bar rack pulls, 5x 8sec hold (add 1 set per week, so 5x8sec, 6x8sec, 7x8sec, 8x8sec, after 8x8sec increase weight and start with 5x8sec again)
  • weighted pull ups, 5x2 (add 1 set per week, so 5x2, 6x2, 7x2, 8x2, after 8x2 increase weight and start with 5x2 again). Optional back off sets of maximum 5 reps.
    Tuesday:
  • lightly weighted pull ups, 3x8 (done with snappy speed, end the set if you start to slow down), BW 2xamrap ((in week 1, when doing 5x2 on Monday, only do 3x8 with BW and good speed))
  • spring or plate loaded grippers 3x20, 2x50-100
    Thursday:
  • fat bar deadlifts, 5x2 (add 1 set per week, so 5x2, 6x2, 7x2, 8x2, after 8x2 increase weight and start with 5x2 again).
  • neutral grip weighted pull ups, 5x2 (add 1 set per week, so 5x2, 6x2, 7x2, 8x2, after 8x2 increase weight and start with 5x2 again). Optional back off sets of maximum 5 reps.
    Friday:
  • lightly weighted neutral grip pull ups, 3x8 with good speed, end the set if you slow down, BW 2x amrap ((in week 1, when doing 5x2 on Monday, only do 3x8 with BW and good speed))
  • horizontal pull ups (ring or bar), 3x10 (with good speed, end the set when slowing down), 2x amrap
  • spring or plate loaded grippers 3x20, 2x50-100

This includes a built in (Hepburn inspired) intensity/ volume cycle, but you could also make week 1 of every 4 weeks a full deload. The grip stuff should recover fairly quick so you could add some extra gripper work on Fridays. I’ve run similar stuff (with more grip work) in the past with good results.[/quote]

My grip could definitely be somewhere I am lacking. I.m going to try to find a way to implement this into my workouts. Thanks for the knowledge. I’ll keep you all posted on my improvement and such. [/quote]

everyone mentioned GtG, and yet the only person to emphasize grip was grippit.

Pavel, is all about the grip. Increase your grip, increase ALL your lifts.

[quote]Jarvan wrote:

[quote]TipTop wrote:

[quote]breakingiron wrote:

[quote]TipTop wrote:
breakingiron I train pull-ups Monday/Wednesday/Friday. I honestly really like your idea of many sub maximal sets, and it may be what I throw into play next. It would be something that I have never tried before and I can definitely see benefits from maximizing overall daily reps. For the 100 pull-ups in a set time idea, I have heard of this before, but have never tried it. What would be a good time limit to start at?

I actually do not kip when I do muscle-ups. I have never been a fan of kipping and have never even tried to learn how. I do strict muscle-ups from a dead hang. I also didn’t know the weighted pull-ups trained a different energy system. It is understandable that it changes the lift slightly though. So I should ditch the weight altogether? What is your opinion on changing grips like I have been from wide to close to regular? Should I continue this or just stick with the regular grip and train volume like you said?

[/quote]

It’s honestly hard to say. The few times I tried 100 AFAP, it gets to the point where at the end you start doing sets of 1-2 and it can take forever to bang out the last reps. You might be able to bang out say 20 sets of 5 on the minute, or you might have to bang out a set of 20 and then get sets of 2-5 until you reach the end. The only way to know is to do it. The best way to do it, I think, would be to just do it once, see how long it takes you, and then every time you do it, shoot for less time. I would only do this once or maaaaybe twice a week, because the demands are going to be incredibly high and training like this can easily lead to overtraining if used too much. I also used to alternate between overhand and underhand pull ups each set, just to encourage balance and prevent overuse injuries.

My apologies on the muscle ups-if you are doing them strict, then you know your shit. Most people I see doing muscle-ups kip, so I figured that you were as well. Both are impressive (strict more so), but I don’t think they’ll really help your goal of a ton of pull ups.

What you’re training right now is muscle endurance. Doing weighted stuff, or explosive stuff, is on the opposite end of that spectrum. While I feel a day of weighted pull ups might help, the majority of your training should be on higher rep BW sets. So maybe do

Monday- Weighted Pull ups with a few back-off sets of BW
Wednesday- Pyramid sets
Friday- 100 reps AFAP

If you want to grease the groove, just make sure you’re not overdoing the rest of your training. When I was training for OCS, I had a pullup bar in one specific doorway of my house. Whenever I walked under that bar, I did 5 pull ups. Mind you, at this time I already had 20 pull ups. So if I walked under that doorway 6 times a day (which was honestly pretty low estimate) every day, 5 days a week, that’s an extra 150 pull ups. Don’t do this for long, maybe 4 weeks or so, and have at least 1-2 rest days a week.

Also, I recommend using at least doing some chin ups along with the pull ups. The little bit of variety will prevent overuse injuries, but still train the muscles you need, and might even help hit the weak points (ex-chin ups help with finishing over the bar when you’re tired on pull ups).[/quote]

I actually really like this workout plan. I think I am going to give it a try for a few weeks and see what comes out of it. I also never do chin ups so hopefully throwing those in every other set does some good for me.
Thanks for the help.

[quote]grippit wrote:
OP, I don’t know what your stats are, what your current program is, how long you’ve been doing what, if you deload, etc. but in general:

  • Increase your strength basis for pull ups with low rep sets. Keep back off sets for those sessions near the same amount as the low reps (so for example heavy weighted 8 sets of 2, followed by a lighter weighted 3x5)
  • Increase your grip strength basis, with, for example, fat grip pull ups, fat bar deadlifts and/or heavy grippers.
  • Increase your endurance for pull ups with higher rep sets. Emphasize different angles per cycle (with, for example, neutral grip pull ups, ring pull ups and horizontal pull ups on rings and/ or bar). Don’t go to failure too often, in general go amrap or do some dropsets on only your last 2 sets.
  • increase your grip endurance, with, for example, (fat bar) rack pulls held for time, fat grip timed hangs, farmers walks and repping out on lighter grippers.

An example to add in with the rest of your training could be:
Monday:

  • fat bar rack pulls, 5x 8sec hold (add 1 set per week, so 5x8sec, 6x8sec, 7x8sec, 8x8sec, after 8x8sec increase weight and start with 5x8sec again)
  • weighted pull ups, 5x2 (add 1 set per week, so 5x2, 6x2, 7x2, 8x2, after 8x2 increase weight and start with 5x2 again). Optional back off sets of maximum 5 reps.
    Tuesday:
  • lightly weighted pull ups, 3x8 (done with snappy speed, end the set if you start to slow down), BW 2xamrap ((in week 1, when doing 5x2 on Monday, only do 3x8 with BW and good speed))
  • spring or plate loaded grippers 3x20, 2x50-100
    Thursday:
  • fat bar deadlifts, 5x2 (add 1 set per week, so 5x2, 6x2, 7x2, 8x2, after 8x2 increase weight and start with 5x2 again).
  • neutral grip weighted pull ups, 5x2 (add 1 set per week, so 5x2, 6x2, 7x2, 8x2, after 8x2 increase weight and start with 5x2 again). Optional back off sets of maximum 5 reps.
    Friday:
  • lightly weighted neutral grip pull ups, 3x8 with good speed, end the set if you slow down, BW 2x amrap ((in week 1, when doing 5x2 on Monday, only do 3x8 with BW and good speed))
  • horizontal pull ups (ring or bar), 3x10 (with good speed, end the set when slowing down), 2x amrap
  • spring or plate loaded grippers 3x20, 2x50-100

This includes a built in (Hepburn inspired) intensity/ volume cycle, but you could also make week 1 of every 4 weeks a full deload. The grip stuff should recover fairly quick so you could add some extra gripper work on Fridays. I’ve run similar stuff (with more grip work) in the past with good results.[/quote]

My grip could definitely be somewhere I am lacking. I.m going to try to find a way to implement this into my workouts. Thanks for the knowledge. I’ll keep you all posted on my improvement and such. [/quote]

everyone mentioned GtG, and yet the only person to emphasize grip was grippit.

Pavel, is all about the grip. Increase your grip, increase ALL your lifts. [/quote]

I agree with this 100%. Not only because Jarvan knows his shit when it comes to pull-ups, but it also ties in with my experiences of climbing having a massive effect on pull-ups.

OP, the main predictor of maximum number of consecutive pull-ups is pull-up 1RM. What is your current 1RM?

Do not train for maximum reps of pull-ups, until you can do 20+ without training specifically for it. Limit your reps training to easy sets of 10-12 now and then.

When you are within 20-30% of your goal (e.g. when you can do 23+, for a goal of 30), you can start training specifically for it. Do this by doing lots and lots of pull-ups, all the time. For example, do 10 sets of 10, 5 days per week. Another alternative is to do something like 3x10 4 days a week and 1-3 max sets, or maximum reps in x minutes, 1 day.

Rep training for pull-ups is just peaking, you won’t improve more than 30-40% maximum this way. You need to build your base, which for pull-ups is exactly your 1RM. Aim for a 2x body-weight pull-up long-term.

To the OP consider this

The SAID principle states basically that if you want to be good at something, do that.

So if you want to increase the number of pullups you do exactly that.

I would consider manipulating the days off.
Try 1 day, then 2, then 3 then 4 etc.
To see which works best.

I would start with one set until you figure out how many days off you need, then consider going to 2 sets, but this may increase the days off you need.

Perhaps consider going to extreme failure, until you can’t even do partials or negatives.

I am sure you know if you are carrying extra bodyfat, need to lose it

If you are gaining muscular weight elsewhere; legs as an example, that weight will hurt your pullups.

Once you get to about 20 reps it becomes muscular endurance. If you want to train for strength then you need to add weight to get the reps back down around 10.

A better training approach may be once you max out pull ups, then look to max out chin ups, then look to max out sternum close grip pull ups etc. Of course if you add weight to these you may never max out!

[quote]mastero wrote:
OP, the main predictor of maximum number of consecutive pull-ups is pull-up 1RM. What is your current 1RM?

Do not train for maximum reps of pull-ups, until you can do 20+ without training specifically for it. Limit your reps training to easy sets of 10-12 now and then.

When you are within 20-30% of your goal (e.g. when you can do 23+, for a goal of 30), you can start training specifically for it. Do this by doing lots and lots of pull-ups, all the time. For example, do 10 sets of 10, 5 days per week. Another alternative is to do something like 3x10 4 days a week and 1-3 max sets, or maximum reps in x minutes, 1 day.

Rep training for pull-ups is just peaking, you won’t improve more than 30-40% maximum this way. You need to build your base, which for pull-ups is exactly your 1RM. Aim for a 2x body-weight pull-up long-term.[/quote]

this is so fail, I don’t know where to start.